Recruiters once spent hours on the traditional means of sourcing, interviewing, and hiring candidates, which was too time-consuming. The average time to fill a vacant position varies across industries from 14 days to 63 days. The implementation of chat-bots helped resolve some of the difficult manual processes such as being available 24/7 for customer service, in addition to providing Omni-channel services, FAQ creation and import, multi-lingual conversations, and much more. Now, conversational artificial intelligence (AI) has arrived into the recruitment space to expand automation opportunities further within the established scope of work.
To facilitate more seamless and effective recruitment, to get recruiters their time back, so that they can put more effort in interacting with candidates and acting as strategic thinkers in their roles, many organizations are focusing on technology that supports intelligent automation, especially interview platforms that leverage conversational AI. Beyond bringing upon a cost-friendly and, efficient solution. Many deem AI as an important factor in creating fair, and diverse hiring channels, along with resolving troubles around scheduling interviews, maintaining documents, and storing records.
According to some studies, the proportion of companies using or planning to use conversational AI solutions in the recruitment space jumped from 7% to 47% in just the last 3 years.
Companies today are not restricting conversational AI to just sourcing or applying, are instead allowing it to be a vessel of value throughout the entire talent acquisition journey; even extending core HR tasks.
12% of organizations are now using conversational AI for internal mobility as per these studies, while
19% of organizations are using it for onboarding.
Conversational AI can also impact diversity in a good way. The research found improvements in recruitment-essential factors such as time-to-fill (+33%), conversion rates (+36%), quality-of-hire (+35%), quality of applicant (+33%), and diversity of hires (+27%) within the first year of using it.
Working of conversational AI
Various technologies are used in conversational AI: Natural language processing, Automatic speech recognition, Machine learning, and advanced dialog management are used to understand, react to, and learn from each interaction.
|ASR||Listening (translates speech into text)|
|NLU||Comprehending (interprets meaning behind text)|
|Dialog Management||Forming response|
|Machine learning||Learning from an experience|
- Changing communication: Due to constant change in communication, various factors may influence communication between humans and machines. Factors such as languages, accents, dialects, emojis, slang, etc.
- Security and privacy: Conversational AI applications need to be designed with utmost safety to maintain the security and privacy of sensitive personal information which might get stolen.
- Restrictions: Resistance and mindset of few managers who reply on traditional methods are not flexible with new technologies. Some countries might even place restrictions on technologies.
- Cost: Initial investments are a little high which might become a challenge to even get started with conversational AI.
Conversational AI in recruitment
Conversational AI is the set of technologies behind automated messaging and speech-enabled applications that offer human-like interactions between computers and humans. Conversational AI recruiting bots are so popular because, unlike a human recruiter, they can answer questions 24×7. The plus point for candidates is that the bot’s instant response time eliminates the wait time of hours or days for answers to the simplest of questions. These bots not only help job candidates at the pre-application stage, but they can also schedule any phone or screen-based interviews, gather information, and update candidates on the status of their application. That adds up to a much better candidate experience, results in saving the recruiter’s time, and provides analytical insights that lead to more effective talent acquisition.
AI bots are highly versatile in how they interact with candidates, communicating by email, text message, and even by voice over the phone. Some companies are using AI bots to help users complete a job application entirely using voice responses on their mobiles. Today, with enhancements in natural language processing, or NLP the value of conversational AI is even greater. It helps mine the conversation’s theme or speaker sentiment. These features benefit a recruiter or a hiring manager to deliver impactful interviews.
Conversational AI types
|Chat Widget||Enhanced Chatbot||Conversational AI or Intelligent Chatbot|
|Definition||· Enables live chat with a human from the website interface||· Utilizes a decision tree and binary/multiple choice answers to direct users towards options
· Helps users complete specific tasks
|· Human-like, dynamic conversations via text or another chat tool
· Helps users navigate towards a goal
|Strengths||· Human to human interaction||· Task-oriented
|· Responds to the way people naturally communicate
· Follows the thread of topics as they arise
· Captures data unknown to the system, allowing for further refinement
· Can reduce bias with proper training
|Weaknesses||· Limited to available staff hours
· Requires staff to respond
|· Limited to pre-programmed questions and acceptable responses||· The upfront time needed to customize the system
· Requires testing and maintenance to refine
Use cases of conversational AI for recruiting:
- Prescreen candidates: The ideal solution for pre-screen recruiting automation is conversational AI. It drops off candidates less qualified for the position in the hiring process compared to forms, pre-assessment, or chatbots. Covers necessary and basic screening questions of a candidates’ qualifications, skills, and experiences. Various platforms such as text messages, emails, Facebook, or any other messaging applications can be used for pre-screening. With the help of conversational AI, the productivity will increase by 144% and the time required with the traditional method which is approximately 70-80% will be saved.
- Coordination in scheduling interviews: Conversational AI helps set up calls or meetings with the candidates who are qualified, and acts as a point of contact for rescheduling or canceling the interview calls, hence helping lower the tedious administration work and giving the recruiter ample amount of time to have a meaningful conversation with candidates. All that is to be done is just connect Conversational AI with the recruiter’s calendar.
- Refresh the profiles: Conversational AI helps reach out to passive candidates, engages with them, checks where they are currently in their career, their career interests, and other details and updates the information in the candidate’s profile data.
- Job requisition and FAQs: Conversational AI can create a talent pipeline for new job opportunities in lesser time and during this process, it ensures timely and consistent communication with candidates. Provides a human-like conversation compared to a typical chatbot. And will answer basic questions of applicants which saves the recruiters time.
- Valuable and unbiased insights of a candidate: Conversational AI has the ability to sort out and interpret data from a candidate in an unbiased manner and processes the information of a candidate based on their answers to close and open-ended questions. It masks any personal information related to candidates to enable unbiased hiring based only on merit. The results are handed over to HR teams in real-time. It also eliminates information about a candidate that is prone to biases such as language accent, gender, age, etc.
- Analyze and interpret key behavioral traits: Conversational AI has the ability to optimize the discovery of a candidate’s behavioral traits and capabilities. This unique ability will help generate and ask within-context questions based on the candidate’s responses and fulfill the interest by getting to know the candidates better. Additionally, conversational AI stores and archives record for easy access and analytics.
Why Conversational AI?
Reductions in dependency on agency decreased, 3X-increase in finding the right candidates, reduction in the cost of hiring as well as time to hire which lead to freeing up time for HR professionals, 2.2X more qualified candidates, scalability, improving efficiency, improving the candidate experience, diversity inclusion, etc.
In one survey, (mention source) around 96% of recruiters agreed that conversational AI enhanced the recruiting process, as well as improved the interview process. How at one point the hiring process used to feel like searching for a needle in the haystack, conversational AI has transformed that experience. Finding the right candidate becomes less of a tedious task and more of an intuitive way to build connections. It creates an experience that is healthy, positive, and efficient, for both candidates and recruiters.
IGT has been providing conversational AI solutions across domains such as airline, hospitality, and retail alongside enterprise functions such as procurement, finance, human resources – helping deliver improvements in customer satisfaction scores by 20%, and achieve operational efficiencies by 35%.
Ramani Giri is the Senior Business Analyst at IGT Solutions’ Intelligent Automation Team. She has an overall experience of 1.75 years in intelligent automation and the hospitality industry. Outside of work, Ramani likes to swim, travel and read.